Writing this finds me in our dark, cool bedroom wearing a periodically fussy Louis, listening to the rain, and drinking two ounces of cooking wine (two ounces being all I can handle without falling asleep). I have only been spit up on once since the last time I bathed. If I try, and Lou throws me a quiet spell, I can hear J and Bram cooking together downstairs: from his Learning Tower he is helping to make rice, and hummus, and falafel, and my favorite Greek dressing for salads. His pomo is patient and never condescending in her lessons. Bram sounds relatively focused, though he would likely rather be playing in the mock “ditch witch” we made with a blanket and some furniture and his tools (a product of an obsession he has formed around a digger we walk past a lot lately). This is a calm moment. This is as serene as life gets with two so far. Relaxation is different than is used to be.
Today, in a stolen moment, I read this. It made me feel a lot of things. It made me want to go to the wine bar with my wife and look into her eyes and occasionally smile. It made me feel a profound sense of gratitude for the community of parents and kiddos in which J and I parent and B and L are kiddos. All these witnesses and someone else to have the words. The just right words. So we can have that precious and irreplaceable I Am Understood feeling. It offered some context.
Everything else I have is in bits and pieces.
We are well and fully co-sleeping. With our other newborns we’ve waited, but this baby was not fooled by the sidecar. We have decent nights and horrid nights. He is so much more still than his brother ever was, but his belly hurts him. This morning, though, I woke up to find Bram standing beside my side of the bed with a book he wanted me to read (he has a side-car mattress to slide into when he wakes in the night, so he must have woken there and run back to his room to find the just-right thing to read). Louis was curled on his side beside me and pulled in tight. It was sweet enough to coax a smile out of my maybe I slept four total and very interrupted hours self. It was all of us together. There was a surprising amount of lightness.
We are in the process of applying to the only preschool in the area that truly feels like the perfect fit for B. And applying for financial aid because we can only afford to send him if half of his tuition is covered. Though I rarely (so rarely) let myself get dragged into the What We Don’t Have woes, it is something to grapple with the fact that because of our choices (and some things that weren’t our choices too, of course) he may not get to do this thing that he’s so sweetly suited to. It is not nothing, the feeling of wanting something for your children that they may not get to have. It is not a crisis, but it is a weight.
We have also outgrown our house. It is small. It is too small. It is also PTSD-laden and we could use a fresh start. But wherever we go we’d like to stay so we can be debt free in thirty years. We could use four bedrooms. We’d love to stay in our neighborhood. We don’t mind something that needs work, but it has to need work in a few years and not tomorrow. We can compromise, but there has to be some little thing that we fall for. It’s hard to know how and when and with what means, exactly. I am sussing out my thoughts about this privileged version of an unprivileged life. I am desperate for some Tom’s and a new quilt for the bed, but the wanting is valuable in and of itself. Because: we can afford to feed our kids. I have beautiful wraps to wear the babies in. We have a reliable car. We are fine, but the tightness is a substantial presence. I want it to serve and not hurt these boys. It is a tight-rope of a lesson: getting it right leads to humility and a right-sized self; getting it wrong, a feeling of deprivation. I am thinking.
Sweet photos of Lou coming. He continues to grow, of course. He is still the littlest: more delicate than his brother ever seemed. More grounded, too, somehow, and less masculine. What sweet mystery is is, getting to know your children. What surprising joy.